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Are specialized questions about some detail of a physics paper appropriate? (ie this)

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I'm not sure what the community's thoughts on this are but I'd be inclined to say yes, in general such questions are appropriate. Certainly there is nothing inherently wrong with asking a very specific question. Of course it's possible that nobody on the site will know the answer, but that should not discourage you from asking.

Such a question could be inappropriate for other reasons, of course. For example, if your question is about pure math that just happens to be used in a physics paper, it may get closed as off-topic, because the mathematics SE site would be a better place for it.

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I'm all in favour of this, since the main intention of physics.SE was to be a

Q&A site for active researchers, academics and students

This should include discussing details of publications, although I agree with David that pure math questions might be better off at math.SE.

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